There is not much to see on this windy scrap of desert south of Albuquerque, which is probably a good thing.
On the eastern edge of the planned Mesa del Sol community south of Albuquerque, this is the site of one of the United States’ most notorious nuclear weapons accidents.
A plane on approach to Kirtland Air Force Base in 1957, 1,700 feet above ground, accidentally dropped what was, at the time, the largest hydrogen bomb in the U.S. arsenal.
The weapon’s dangerously radioactive plutonium core had been removed before it fell from the plane, and there was no nuclear blast. But the high explosives used to trigger a nuclear weapon’s explosion did go off on impact, creating a crater 25 feet wide and 15 feet deep in the desert scrub.
There’s been some confusion over the years about the exact location, so I took the liberty of making a map:
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